June 17, 2013 by The Dove
Taking care of one’s skin can be a costly and frustrating undertaking. Not having the kind of money beautiful skin seems to require can be frustrating and leave those of us who are skin-challenged wondering what can be done? It turns that all you have to do is get creative and look in your kitchen for a ridiculously affordable way to bless your skin by creating your own natural face masks.
In my experiences with acne and other skin-related ailments, I found that, by putting food on my face, I can save money while nourishing and healing my skin with truly surprising results.
Here is one of my favorite combinations. In addition to acne, I have somewhat sensitive skin, and these ingredients have not only helped my acne, but are gentle enough to not irritate my skin in the process. I am absolutely amazed at the results I am getting!
Strawberries are a potent source of antioxidants and vitamin C (a half-cup of strawberries contain nearly 50 mg of vitamin C). They also lighten any pigmentation problems (such as scarring).
Raw honey has antibiotic and antimicrobial properties. It also helps calm irritated skin.
Lemon is also full of vitamin C, and citric acid. Like strawberries, it will lighten pigmentation, and will help reduce oily skin without over-drying it.
Mustard powder is a natural source of salicylic acid, one of the most common ingredients in treatments.
Apple cider vinegar helps clean out pores from oil and bacteria. It is also a natural detoxifier for the skin when applied topically, and helps to reduce swelling and dry the skin from excess oils.
Cinnamon can help rid your skin of acne by both drying out the skin and bringing blood and oxygen to the skin surface, which also helps plump skin like a mini collagen treatment.
Grape seed oil is great for sensitive skin, and actually helps reduce the oiliness of skin. The antioxidants in grape seed extract have also been said to safeguard the elastin and collagen in your skin.
Lavender oil calms irritated skin. It also kills bacteria and reduces inflammation.
Strawberry Spice Mask (for acne and smaller pores)
3 strawberries (green part can stay on)
1 tablespoon raw honey
¼ lemon – squeezed
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon grape seed oil (can use evoo if you don’t have grape seed)
4 drops lavender oil
I prefer to juice my strawberries in a juicer then mix the rest of the ingredients with the strawberry juice. However, if you do not own a juicer, you can use a blender instead. If you use a juicer, the mask will be less chunky and easier to apply.
If you use a blender, add all the ingredients (with exception of the lavender oil) and blend until it is pureed and smooth. Stir in the lavender oil.
Spread onto your face, not getting it too close to your eyes, and leave on for 25-30 minutes. This mask will tingle and may slightly burn. Do not be alarmed! The burning will go away after a few minutes and will actually start to feel soothing.
Rinse off with warm water after 25-30 minutes and discard any unused product. Moisturize afterwards (you can even use a small amount of grape seed oil with a drop or two of lavender oil as a moisturizing, soothing serum).
Please comment and let me know how this worked out for you!
May 10, 2013 by The Dove
Mothers’ Day is quickly coming up and a lot of us out here are wondering what we should get for the most important women in our lives. There are tons of great gifts out there, but if you want to try something special, original, and eco-friendly there are other options than the traditional earrings/chocolate/card combo that we all know so well. There are all kinds of creative and eco-friendly gifts that are on today’s market, ranging from jewelry crafted from recycled glass to the organic versions of the food Mom likes best.
This is the perfect season for flowers and spas, as we approach summer and mothers everywhere are preparing themselves for the craziness of summer. If either of you are worried about your carbon footprint, there’s no need to fret any longer. Buy a bouquet of flowers grown without pesticides or chemicals and accompany that with an organic spa basket. This basket can be filled with organic lotions, bath products, and soy wax candles. This way Mom can get the relaxation she craves, you get the satisfaction of giving your mother something she’ll love and use, and you both can feel good about doing good for the Earth.
If flowers and baths aren’t your Mom’s thing, maybe clothes are. The well known (and eco-friendly, as well as charitable) shoe company, TOMS, is making an “I heart Mom” patterned shoe in celebration of mothers day. Not only does she get an Earth-friendly pair of adorable shoes, but this also lets the company donate a pair to an underprivileged person in need of shoes. However, the clothing trend doesn’t end with shoes-there are tons of options for clothing made out of recycled or organic fabric. If Mom loves bright colors, for example, you can get a beautiful and colorful bag that is made out of recycled sari fabrics from India. If she loves dresses, you can get a soft, pretty dress that’s made out of bamboo. It’s fabulous for both your mom’s look and for the Earth.
Some of you may be wondering, “What about jewels? My mom loves those.” No worries! If you’re in the market for jewelry, there are plenty of options open for you. Necklaces, bracelets, and charms that are made out of recycled metals and glass are easy to find, stunning to wear, and help have a positive impact on the environment. From sake bottle necklaces to recycled metal charms, your mom is sure to love her gift.
Let’s not forget the inevitable-and delicious-Mothers’ Day gift: sweets. From organic bonbons to organic cookies, eco-friendly stores have your mom’s favorite options. Crisp sugar cookies that are not only cooked organically but are packed in a reusable and recycled tin can-sounds like a beautiful, sweet, and green gift to me.
If none of these are sounding like a good option, there’s one thing that will always tug your mom’s heartstrings and leave very little negative waste in the Earth. Plan a day for you and your mom: take a hike in the mountains, go swimming at the beach, help her plant her new garden. Your mom will love that you’re spending time with her, and you’ll cherish the memories you two create together. There’s nothing to worry about throwing out, or chemicals that will harm the environment, just a time that you both will remember lovingly.
So, remember: no matter what your mom’s favorite food, or clothes, or flowers are, you can find it in an organic, recycled, or eco-friendly option. Happy Mothers’ Day!
September 13, 2012 by The Dove
Adults are not alone in their concern for the health of the environment. Children, who will inherit what their forebears leave behind, are also showing an increasing awareness of the world and what sustains it. There are many easy ways for kids to get involved with environmentalism.
For parents looking to facilitate environmental awareness, it might be helpful to seek out a school or religious group that teaches about the environment and has activities. Going to nature-based camps is an excellent opportunity to connect with like-minded children and teens, in addition to learning about the environment, animals, and how to be active as an environmentalist.
My parents sent me to camps at a nature preserve (Fontanelle Forest in Nebraska) and later to a Jewish camp in Colorado that had a strong emphasis on nature-based activities (Shwayder Camp). While I always struggled getting adjusted at first, these places helped me grow and understand how I wanted to relate to the world around me.
Go to your local farmers’ market together and learn about vegetables and fruits. Talk with the farmers to get a better understanding of where the food comes from. Depending on the farmers’ market and time of year, there might be samples, cheese, eggs, frozen sea food, and even meat.
While many parents put it off, I encourage them to explain the connection between meat and animals rather early, especially those living in a meat-eating household. I know parents may try to shield sensitive children from the fact that they are eating their furry and feathered friends, but that just did not work out for my parents. When I learned to read, I unfortunately came upon a PETA site while searching my interests in environmentalism and animal rights, and POOF!!! – I became a vegetarian for six years and developed nutritional deficiencies because my household could not support my dietary choices, and I didn’t know how to manage it.
For younger children, learning the three R’s of “Reduce, reuse, and recycle” can be particularly fun with going to a thrift store and making costumes for a holiday or even making crafts out of what normally would be trash. There are some very clever ideas out there like making caterpillars out of empty egg cartons (see http://www.dltk-kids.com/crafts/insects/mcaterpillar.htm). Keep in mind that the plastic googly-eyes can easily be replaced with spare odds and ends around the house like a leftover button or a button from a holey shirt! The importance of recycling cans and excess papers is one that children can easily pick up on.
Especially for kids who live in the city, or really any kid, it is essential to foster an appreciation of nature through experiencing it. Children can easily grasp and attach to this appreciation for nature’s intrinsic beauty, connecting to a long line of conservationists, like John Muir. It doesn’t have to be a three night canoe trip or hitting up a famous national park half-way across the country. Getting a plot in a city garden and working on it with your child or children a few times a week can create a huge appreciation for nature and plants.
Alternatively, going to a zoo that has enclosures replicating animals’ natural habitats with enough space may be particularly enjoyable for children. Going for a walk in a nature reserve for a few hours or on a canoe ride is often amazing. Such endeavors need not become routine, and a trip into the wilderness or nature once and a while can create a great impact.
When going on excursions, explain the basics of conservation. While I recall my dad having a particularly interesting perspective given that he was actually a developer and had worked to preserve certain creeks and wooded areas, and once even turned down a large lumber deal due to an endangered owl, there are basic elements that help a child learn how humans and the environment interact. Bringing a bag on walks and hikes together to pick up litter and properly dispose of it teaches a sense of stewardship. Be sure to clearly express to children that they should not touch or pick up syringes or sharp objects, especially when in parks where they are more likely to accumulate.
If you are involved with activism or philanthropy around environmentalism, get your child involved. It is an ideal way to teach your child how organizations and governments work, in addition to giving a sense of contributing to society.
Many Audubon Societies host student bird drawing competitions that encourage kids to connect to birds and learn about their habitats and diets. I participated in these for nine years, and my sister won several awards.
By Emily F.
September 12, 2012 by The Dove
Menlo Park-based QBotix Inc is in the process of revolutionizing solar panel energy efficiency through the implementation of robots used for their innovative tracking technologies.
SolBots, developed by the company, do not require individualized motors in each solar panel as currently deployed in most solar panel tracker fields. These SolBot units traverse a monorail-type track encompassing the solar panel fields and move from panel unit-to-unit, automatically rotating each panel to maximize energy efficiency with the movements of the sun throughout the day.
QBotix CEO Wasiq Bokhari explains, “While a number of solar PV (photovoltaic SolBot module trackers) trends are driving in the direction of decentralization such as distributed generation and power electronics, QBotix tracking insights have led to the centralization of utility scale tracker array motors into mobile solar robots.” (Gunther)
The “tracked area” of a solar panel field conventionally includes each solar panel having a motor installed in its base to control changes in angle adjustment in accordance with the movements of the sun. However, QBotix envisions a motorless tracker that removes a key expense driver and failure point in maintaining energy output of the tracked area.
QBotix technology enables several SolBots (one primary, one backup) so that each robot carries a pair of motors from one mechanically (motorless) tracking pole (solar panel) to the next. As the sun moves about ten degrees across the sky every forty minutes, it is possible for QBotix to adjust each tracker once over this interval to track the sun and maximize yields. (Gunther)
In its first commercial product offering, the QBotix Tracking System (QTS) uses a SolBot riding a steel monorail between trackers to control two hundred mechanical PV trackers each. QBotix claims, “QTS reduces the cost of dual-axis tracking by a factor of two, decreases the number of motors by a factor of one-hundred, and can withstand high wind loads. Energy yield is increased by 8-15% over single-axis trackers and 30-40% over fixed tilt PV systems, lowering the cost of energy by up to 20%.” (Gunther)
Each SolBot is embedded with processors, sensors, GPS, and independent communications to monitor PV plant performance, predict failures, and schedule maintenance. Each solar robot is independently battery-powered and costs QBotix about $.30 to charge per-day.
The QTS system has an advantage in that the system can be installed on uneven or sloping land and requires no extensive underground cabling currently employed to power tracking solar panel stations. The first installations of QTS systems will occur in San Francisco with potential customer Siemens Technology-To-Business Center. A second installation is planned for the City of Alameda at the Santa Rita Jail with construction planned for September 2012.
QBotix was founded two-years ago, in August 2010, and has raised over $7.5 million in funding in March 2012 from New Enterprise Associates, Firelake Capital, Siemens Venture Capital, and DFJ JAIC. (Gunther) The company currently has twenty-five full-time employees and is proud to boast that the company sources and builds the solar robots on site using commonly found, store-bought components and machinery.
This exciting technological leap has a huge upside to increase energy efficiency by eliminating multiple motors at individual tracking stations and lower the operating costs for solar panel energy conversion. As QBotix implements two trials in 2012, the company offers a new, positive and economically friendly way to manage solar power.
By Chase A.
Gunther, Edgar A. QBotix: Rise of the Solbots. 11 September 2012. 12 September 2012. <http://guntherportfolio.com/2012/09/qbotix-rise-of-the-solbots/>.
September 11, 2012 by The Dove
Upon hearing of the tragic passing of Sage Stallone after having five teeth pulled, I was reminded of the trauma that dental work can be. I am grateful we have talented, dedicated dentists who work really hard doing such precise, demanding, and challenging work; however, with the gifts of modern medicine comes the caveat of being overly pathologized. We tend to implicitly trust our health care providers, and take the necessity of certain procedures for granted. Prophylactic wisdom tooth removal is one such procedure.
People do not realize how serious dental surgery is, and the agony it can cause. Because dangerous pain killers like vicodin are often prescribed after the surgery, this is also a concern for young people, especially those prone to addiction. With addiction to pain pills sky rocketing, keeping kids away from them when possible is a good idea.
Dentists agree that impacted wisdom teeth should be removed if there are pathological changes in them, including pain, infection, decay, lesion, or cyst. But when there is absolutely nothing wrong with them, their removal becomes more of an antiquated habit, rather than a health-promoting procedure.
Most of us will experience having this procedure done without questioning the reasons for doing so. But perhaps we should not let our teeth be pulled out of our heads without first asking a few more questions.
This is a video of a very good-natured young man named Chaddy after his wisdom tooth surgery:
He is being a great sport, and everyone seems to think this is hilarious. I think it is horrific: an unnecessary, traumatic cranial injury – not at all funny. Young people trust their parents and doctors to do the right thing. Prophylactic removal of wisdom teeth is a racket. Our teeth are an important part of our skulls, and whenever possible we should keep them. No reliable research evidence exists to support claims of health benefits to patients from the prophylactic removal of pathology-free impacted wisdom teeth.
Dr. Eric Curtis, DDS, spokesman for the Academy of General Dentistry, says, “In the public’s mind, dentistry is really routine. You turn 18, and you think it is time for wisdom teeth to come out. It is almost ubiquitous, a rite of passage.” At least 5 million people undergo the surgery every year at a cost of 3 billion dollars. It is so common that patients have stopped thinking of it as a serious medical procedure.
This widespread surgery “subjects individuals and society to unnecessary costs, avoidable morbidity and the risks of permanent injury.” According to a 2007 report published in the American Journal of Public Health, more than 11,000 people each year sustain permanent nerve damage following wisdom tooth extraction. Tragically 17-year-old Jenny Olenick of Maryland and 14-year-old Ben Ellis of Georgia both died from unnecessary wisdom tooth extraction in 2011.
It is not the dentists’ (and oral surgeons’) fault that they are inclined to do these procedures. This is what their training and schooling prepares them for; and so in order to change national policy and dental education, a decision to institute policy change needs to be made by those in charge of dental colleges and organizations.
“Everybody is at risk for appendicitis, but do you take out everyone’s appendix?” asks Dr. Greg Huang, chairman of orthodontics at the University of Washington in Seattle. “I’m not against removing wisdom teeth, but you should do an assessment and have a good clinical reason.” Studies suggest that no more than 12 percent of impactions lead to infections or damage to adjacent teeth – about the same incidence as appendicitis. Yet, no medical associations recommend prophylactic appendectomy.
In 2006, the Cochrane Collaboration published a review of the practice and suggested that the number of surgeries could be drastically reduced using “prudent decision-making, with adherence to specified indicators for removal.” Prophylactic extraction is “likely to be ineffective or harmful.” The report advised against extracting asymptomatic, disease-free wisdom teeth because of the risks, which include permanent nerve damage, hemorrhage, dry socket, and infection, and extreme pain and swelling caused by the operation.
Sometimes it is said the surgery will prevent crowding, but this concern is overblown. “Removal of third molars to prevent late incisor crowding cannot be justified.” An on-going study in Denmark indicates that “watchful monitoring” is an appropriate strategy. This means going to a dentist periodically throughout one’s life for teeth cleaning and checking to make sure the wisdom teeth are still doing well, just as the rest of the teeth are checked. (On a side note, if a filling is ever needed for a tooth, make sure to get the white composite filling, rather than the silver filling which contains the poison mercury!)
The American Public Health Association recommends against prophylactic wisdom tooth removal because “the removal of these teeth, like the removal of any teeth, should be based on evidence of diagnosed pathology or demonstrable need, rather than anticipated future pathology.” The APHA’s position is drawn from scientific research that documents the risks of injury to the nerves of the jaw, which can cause permanent numbness of the tongue, lips, and cheeks, as well as damage to the temporomandibular (jaw) joint and adjacent teeth.
During the surgery, the patient receives anesthesia, and afterwards strong pain killers like Vicodin may be prescribed, which can set a young person up for addiction. Best not to endure this type of invasive injury in the first place – having your teeth carved out of your skull sounds like something that should only be done as an absolute last resort any way.
Every operation carries risk, especially those that are done near the brain, so why put ourselves through this torture voluntarily? Please educate those you know in the age range of 17-24 (when the operation is usually performed) that they should make sure they actually absolutely have to go through with this. If it is not medically necessary, then brushing your teeth and healthy eating might be better for your dental and overall wellbeing than major surgery.
1. Moisse, Katie. “Parents Sue After Teen Dies During Wisdom Tooth Surgery.” ABC News. 15 December 2011. Web. 23 August 2012.
2. Rabin, Roni Caryn. “Wisdom of Having That Tooth Removed” The New York Times. 05 September 2011. Web. 23 August 2012.
3. “No Wisdom In Routinely Pulling Wisdom Teeth, Study Says.” Science Daily. 29 April 2005. Web. 23 August 2012.
4. “Wisdom teeth – removal (TA1).” National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence. 10 January 2011. Web. 23 August 2012.